Thursday, February 28, 2013

Elephant ride uphill to Amer Fort

As we approached Amer fort near Jaipur, the driver asked if I'd like to go up on elephant or in a jeep or walk. I opted to walk.

While walking I spotted elephants ferrying tourists uphill to the fort and clicked some snaps. This ride costs Rs 900 (max 2 people) and is available only during early morning (post noon, the rocks get hot and difficult for elephants to walk- I see good idea here for shoe companies- make some elephant shoes)

Apparently while going back they go empty and won't take tourists.

Similar: How to survive elephant attack * elephant bathing at K Gudi

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tiger Moth Redbull aircrafts at Aero India 2013

A bunch of tiger moths performed interesting stunts during Aero India 2013

Tiger moths are world war 2 time aircrafts, used in air to air combats, often with a hand operated gun.

Made a video from over 150 still photos I had taken during the Aero India. Watch below video for a quick experience.
View some still photos below

Also view: Sarang helicopters in Action * Security issues during Aero India

Friday, February 22, 2013

10 in 1: Quick Movie Reviews

Here's a set of quick movie reviews:

1 Vishwaroopam: Nice plot and incomplete story (intentionally kept open for sequel). Good enough action and acting. But nothing worth all the hype and racial complaints. 4/5

2 Special 26: Interesting plot. Entertaining movie. No stupid song and fight sequences. 4.5/5

3 Inkaar: Good topic, great arguments. But the end was inconclusive. For no apparent reason, in the end, Arjum Rampal leaves his job and vanishes. Not everyone accused under sexual harassment can afford to do that. Would have been good if the movie had offered a more practical solution to the problem. : 3/5

4 Murder 3: Waste of time 1.5/5

5 Death Race 3 (English); Good watch and nice sequel. 4.5/5

6 Table No 21: Good story and nice scenery of Fuji. 3.5/5

7 David: I didn't understand the plot properly

8 Rajdhani Express: Not sure what to say, just 2/5

9. SOTY: Another boring plot. Can be ignored 2/5

10. Son of Sardar: I didn't watch, as I'd seen Telugu and kannada versions (Maryada Ramanna)

Lamp post near India gate and a missed Republic day parade

I was in NCR during this year's Republic day. Being a Saturday, I was free and wanted to experience R-day parade live. But after a set of searching, I figured out that tax paying common people are not allowed anywhere near R-Day parade, due to security reasons. Unless you've a PASS, which can be obtained only if you have a political connection, you've to limit yourself to the TV set to watch R-Day parade.

Realizing that it could be pointless being in Delhi on R-Day, I headed towards Jaipur for Saturday and came back to Delhi on Sunday morning (in a double decker). Went to India Gate, where the Raj Path (King's street) on which all the parade had taken place less than 24 hours ago.

Couldn't go near India gate, as Police had cordoned off the area and had to satisfy myself with a distant look. Some photos of the venue.
The jugaad 3 wheelers- hadn't noticed them during my earlier Delhi visits. Their main target is passengers looking to go to nearby metro stations. For about 10 Rs, you can go to nearby Metro (Secretariat station), but you'll have to wait till 3-4 other people join in.
The Raj path, on which all the parade took place 1 day earlier
How to attend republic day parade in Delhi?
Btb if you know what's the procedure to attend Republic day parade live, let me know.

Nearby places: Qutub Minar * Red Fort * Lodhi Garden * 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Qutab Minar, Delhi

Despite being to Delhi a few times in past, I hadn't managed to visit Qutab Minar. Completed that during the last visit.

As seen in photos, it is indeed a majestic structure. But what's not shown often is the other buildings in the same campus. The campus has few other buildings also, in various levels of deterioration.


A metro station is nearby. Walkable or can take auto for Rs 20

The campus has lots of birds, do carry your zoom lens.

A cloak room is available for no extra charge.

Also see: Red Fort, Delhi * Lodhi Garden DelhiFake Calls from Delhi court! *

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wax Museum, Kodai kanal

Kodai kanal has a small wax museum. A person employed by the museum wearing fancy dress tries to stop speeding cars and make them visit the museum.

We paid visit to the museum, as we had nothing much left to explore. It is a small house converted into museum, two floors (about 10+ rooms with some 30 odd statues around various popular persons/events.

There's a Rs 30 entry ticket to the museum and houses several statues, said to be made of wax. Some photos below for your reference.

Seems they have a similar museum in Ooty also. Thankfully it is in hill stations. If shifted to Chennai, they would melt in no time.

 Mahatma Gandhi
  A music band
  Sri Sri Ravishankar? (face looks wider than actual person)
 The last supper
For another 30 Rs one can beat some drums and play the guitar for a while. Home made candles and few other such items are also on sale.

Also see: Rock Pillar, Kodai Kanal

Aero India 2013 Security loopholes

Aero India 2013 concluded last week in Bangalore and we’re fortunate that it ended without any incident. Despite having an army of security guards, police, CRPF, Military folks, the show had several security vulnerabilities. Here’re a few of them.

The food court was outside the security range. So those who wanted to go to food court had to exit the exhibition area and while coming back, they had to clear security one more time. For the afternoon show, scheduled to begin at 2 PM, people crowded near the security gate in large numbers, eager to be in before the show starts. Baggage and pass checks were bare minimum or rather name sake. Barricades were almost non-existent.

The hangers (which were converted into exhibition halls) had a small rear door. These are flagged as EMERGENCY EXITs on the inside and are manned by a police or security guards. I saw a security guard opening this gate from inside and allowing an outside person in plain clothes to enter in, bypassing security gates  he was supposed to pass through. In other words, if you know someone from the inside (needn't be a high level person, even a security guard or cleaner will do), it was very easy to enter the main area through some vulnerable points.

The exhibition halls had 2 entrances. If one of them had been marked as entry and other as exit, flow of people could have been streamlined. But there were no such differentiation. This works fine when no of people are few. But when crowd throngs in thousands, this becomes unmanageable. Security guards at the gate are supposed to scan the pass against a RFID scanner, see if the scanner gives red or green and then allow entry accordingly. However, after airshow almost every one tried entering nearby exhibition halls, in all directions, security guards were helpless. Many people entered the hall, with or without any check.

If one person had a pass to enter a restricted area, he would take another 4-5 with him (family members, friends etc)- guards wouldn't object to this. This is also a bad practice and vulnerability

Those who flashed big tags, walked around authoritatively were allowed into restricted areas without close scrutiny. It is very easy to print a pass which looks similar. A well dressed and authoritative looking person can easily confuse the security and make his way through. (This happens all the places, very difficult to scan every individual at every gate. May  be an access controlled gate- like one works in metro stations-would be a better idea)

The security seemed fool proof early morning when the crowd was less. But by noon, the crowd was unmanageable and security forces looked helpless. They tried their best to check everyone and their bags, but any smart person could have easily bypassed the check, if he was determined to.

Possible improvements:
  • Keep the food court inside the premises-saves repeat security checks
  • Keep automated gates which open when a valid access card is flashed, for restricted areas
  • Well planned barricades, entry and exit can streamline people, making them more manageable 

Rock Pillar, Kodaikanal

Rock Pillar is a view point in Kodai Kanal

The rocks appear to be in the shape of a pillar, stand straight and vertical, hence the name. But more than the rocks, it was the clouds which excited tourists. That feeling of seeing clouds below us is just awesome. View the pictures

Pillar rock is about 8 kms from Kodai kanal city. Some locals were collecting Rs 2 per head as entry fee to the view points. Lots of shops around have resulted in limited viewable/photo area

Also read: Was Museum, Kodai * 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

AeroIndia 2013-Sarang helicopters

I was at Aero India show last Saturday. Took 1000+ photos of the airshow. Sharing some of them here, those specific to Sarang Helicopters

Also made a video from 100s of still photos I had taken. Watch the video below to see the metal birds in action

 Sarangs coming face to face and clearing in close quarters.
 To emit smoke, looks like an additional accessory is added

View pics of sarang from 2015 Aero India